tv This Week in Defense CBS May 13, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
happy mother's day weekend and welcome to "this week in defense news." i'm vago muradian. despite systems like lasers, few have been deployed operationally but we'll talk to one expert that says they are on the vern of more widespread use. but first when the heads converge in chicago, the ic will be the war in afghanistan and map what is next for the alliance after the operations there end in 2014. the meeting comes in the wake of the u.s. agreement to keep forces in afghanistan through 2024 and the election of a french -- a new french president who wants france's
forces out of the country by year's end. while the afghanistan war will dominate headlines, nato leaders will struggle with equally important issues like shaping the alliances post afghanistan strategy and preserve capabilities despite fiscal aust ert and negotiate a arrangement with vladimir putin. and here to join us the nato am bass door, peter flurry who was secretary general for investment during the late bush and early obama administrations who also is with ndu and the atlantic council. gentlemen, welcome to the program. >> good to be with you. >> so let's start ambassador hunter, what are the big items on the agenda and what will the summit accomplish. >> well number one, as you said, is afghanistan. it is essential for the allies to demonstrate the basic principal of in together and
out together. we'll be there with combat forces until 2014 and then for some period thereafter, the united states, maybe 10 years, helping the afghan forces do the job for themselves. it is important to show people that we didn't just cut and run after the fundamental defeat of al-qaeda and the taliban, but peter, will we see that kind of unity coming out of the summit? >> the summit has a habit of bringing a level of unanimity. it will keep the focus on accomplishing the mission on the ground and not generate into a rush for the exit. so i think things are on track to do that but it is important to keep that focus. >> when you talk about the exits, you can't help but think of sarkozy's decision to move with the draw dates of 2013 and now you have illan who is going to be inaugurated who said we should leave at the end of
2012, a year earlier. how does that complicate the situation and does that put france in the position of being a spoiler again? >> i don't think so. it is just one country among 28 to begin with. secondly, we don't know what the new french president will really do now that he is elected. he will be in office three days when he shows up in chicago. the french went back into the integrated military command system of nato to use this long expression, to be a full ally because it was in their essential national interest to work much more closely with us and to have a chance to get the benefits as well as the liabilities of all of the fantastic capacity that nato has. so i expect the french to be a good ally. >> i'm sure there are discussions going on about this right now, but as bob said, france is a country that more than most has a clear long-term view of their interestsm you see a great deal of continuity.
the campaign was the campaign but now the president will have to governor and i'm sure he'll make the right decisions. >> but this is still a very unpopular war. do we have any sense of how long the allies will stick in there? is this one year past 2014 or is it -- do we have any sense of who are staying and how long they are staying that point? >> well i think that is what they are talking about in chicago to a great extent is really about getting to the transition point in 2014 and then the support and engagement that nato both as an organization and nato nations will maintain of afghanistan in the future to support the afghan government to achieve the goals that we all have, which is to help the afghan government and maintain security, govern the country and prevent the country from slipping back into a haven for terrorists. >> i wouldn't put a lot of money on many nato countries being there after two, three, four years. and in fact, nobody has yet
figured out how to help a country that goes way back in time the way they do. they are still not a modern country. to be able to modernize itself and have a real government and a functional autonomy in anything other than decades. so i suspect within three or four years there will not be too many outsiders left in afghanistan. whatever the implications we can talk about, which i think it will be substantial. >> which is what the readout from the conference is. but everything is focused on the afghanistan portion of this. but there is a huge amount of stuff going on that also has to be addressed and one of them is the broader defense strategy post afghanistan. and we were all at the meeting recently when italian defense minister john depaulo was in town and what he said is member nations ought to look to nato and what the alliance decides to shape their own defense
planning as individual member nations. how likely is it that countries will do what italy did and i would dare say france and the u.k., of looking at nato and then building a military that fits into that? >> at the moment it doesn't look terribly promising. but there are several things to look at. one, how to -- how do you address nato, same standards, same language, defense industry working together, having an integrated military command structure against the day when something has to be done. a year ago if we were sitting here and you had asked me is nato going to play a decisive role in a place call libya, i would ask you what you were smoking. so we don't know. but there will be security requirements and the best instrument in the world to take those on is called nato. >> and that goes to john paulo's point which is don't repert back to a territorial
defense force, remain with the global view. peter? >> that's one of the fundamental shifts that has taken place. most of the allied nations and many of them are relatively new but many are oriented the defense strategy around the nato requirements. and the u.s. obviously had a broader view, france and u.k. to a certain extent and many others but it is not a new thing. what has changed is that the level of ambition of what nato wants to be able to do has changed and changed as part of a recognition that the alliance had broader issues in the world, broader interest in the world and it was important to defend, that the alliance could continue in collective security and in a number of ways that weren't envisioned when the alliance was created. >> stay tuned for more on what to expect from na
recognition of a time of greater economic austerity and that was if you didn't have the capabilities to do what you needed to do then the strategic concept was long on concept and short on real strategy and i think the secretary general and the nato leadership and the nations grasp this and have tried to basically do things differently and i think one of the key points is they are doing things that were done in the past but trying to do them differently with a new sense of their importance and urgency. >> and pooling and sharing being one of the ideas? >> pooling and sharing. there are examples of this in the past. joint acquisitions. nato was built on a number of examples of smart defense. some like the strategic airlift capability, the ags which took much too long. >> alliance ground surveillance radar. >> but basically a system in the works for 19 years but is timely because it addresses the isr challenge that nato found itself dealing with in libya. >> bob, what is the united states having to step up to do. we are looking at a resource
constrained environment and everybody is struggling with money and there is burden with the united states pushing more of the responsibility over to europe. what is the u.s. responsibility? >> we need the allies to show they remain committed by not falling off the wagon entirely but they expect from us to demonstrate we remain a european power. we had the statements from administration officials earlier this year about a pivot to asia. that scared a lot of europeans. it seems to them to believe that after afghanistan is finished, we'll forget about the couldn't innocent. big mistake if that happens. we are reducing our forces. therefore, what do we do to show we still remain committed. the first thing i think the president needs to make a major speech before chicago. not just about the usual nato business, but also about economic relations and why, as he said, this is the great pool of resources for security of
the entire world. on top of that we need to take the u.s. command in europe, ucom and make that the repository of training and for getting people to work together to demonstrate american leadership is just as solid for the future as it was for the past on which nato's success has always been built. >> if i could jump on the last point. given the importance of europe now as a security provider rather than just a consumer, as the president has pointed out, and the importance for europe and for nato of alliance solidarity and at a time when our operations in afghanistan are going to be coming to an end, it is especially important for the u.s. to stay plugged into europe to keep working with our allied forces there to build on and not lose all of the lessons learned over the last years of conflict in afghanistan. >> but you are, peter, one of the architects of the missile defense in europe.
it was a very, very difficult thing to put together but finally nato endorsed it as a key mission. the initial operating capability is going to be declared in chicago and russia now has putin back in who has been adamant this shouldn't happen. what does that mean -- what does that mean for the broader relationship with russia and what is next there? >> well i don't think it is so much the ioc, although that is the event noted at the summit. and the fact is that russia has not liked the nato missile defense project. nato has been adamant that it would like to work with russia on this but has been equally adamant that russia does not have a veto on whether nato defends itself from ballistic
missiles. this is central to the whole nato core belief of directive defense. so i don't see this as negotiable. but on the other hand the alliance and u.s. have tried to work with russia and be transparent and get them to the point where they will not have any objections to it. >> bob? >> the first george bush had a concept of grand strategy for european security. europe, whole and peace and free. we've done seven of the eight parts. how do you engage russia. that's why allies want us to stay in europe, because only america can work with the russian future. you have to do more than missile defense and it has to be other things. whether it is control or afghanistan where they are really helping, counter drug, counter terrorism and get on a new page with the russians. putin is not going to chicago, not even for the group eight summit. we are going to have to step up if were going to make nato, nato russia and the reset in the future. >> guys, that is all of the
navy federal. we're earning cash back! bring it. brought it. brung. 4 million members. 4 million stories. navy federal credit union. the pentagon has invested billions of dollars in directed energy systems from lasers to microwave beams that have promised game changing abilities. they can easily shoot down enemy rockets without costly conventional missiles but with beams of light. but lasers have had short comings, prompting skepticism among leaders. robert gates canceled the long running airborne laser, a 747 jetliner with a powerful laser to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. he did continue investment in the laze thaer was supposed to
go on the plane. our next guest, mark gunsinger argues that directed energy systems have many uses and are far more ready for operational use than critics suggest. he is the co-author of a new report, changing the game, the promise of directed energy objectives. welcome to the show. >> thank you, vago. >> what are the cost of directed energy systems over conventional ones. >> frankly conventional weapons are expendable and cost millions of dollars each. frankly defense based solely on those offenses may not be affordable. in fact a pac 3 -- >> patriot accessibility missile. >> yes exactly and it is billions of dollars each. and imagine it coming at one of our bases in the pacific. countering those missiles with those kind of defenses can cost the american taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars and over a campaign simply not affordable.
>> and you run out of the defensive missiles. so it is not just that they are 3 million or $9 million each but you can't produce them from enemies, like china, will rain on any of our targets. >> and we have to resupply our defenses with those missiles using lines of supply that stretch back to the united states which may be under attack. >> what are the developments over the past couple of years that really have put some of the capabilities within reach? >> putting money into chemical laser technologies which was powering the airborne laser that you mentioned and frankly the airborne laser was a very unwielding weapon operationally. you have to stand close to an enemy, within range of the missiles to shoot them down. >> and it had the chemical iodine laser which was -- >> correct. corrosive and toxic chemicals.
but now there are solid state lasers, using thin disks like a microscope slide that will generate powerful beams of laser light that could interdict uav's unmanned air vehicles, cruise missiles and swarming boats, the kinds of threats we see in the persian gulf today. >> what are some of the more direct specific applications and the specific systems that we're likely to see and what time frame are we talking about? >> we report over the next five to ten years it would be feasible for the navy to field a ship based laser on a destroyer with over 100-kilo watts of power to see what we do today. and last week the navy announced intention to begin developing a prototype of that weapon and they could fill that by 2018 given sufficient resources. >> and that laser would be used
against small boats but also against incoming missiles. >> incoming cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft. 150-kilo watts probably not powerful for a ballistic missile. for that you need a chemical missile like at sea ports or air bases in the pacific to counter the pla's long range missiles. >> what are some of the other systems that we'll see in prime time. because folks have a tendency of thinking about lasers but there are microwave applications in the technology. >> absolutely. and nonlethal applications. microwave. the air force is looking today at putting high powered microwave package on a cruise missile with a potential to hit scores of targets, electronic based systems, in a single sorting. now that is costing position. imagine a bomber or a flight of bombers, each of them carrying 20 or 30 of these missiles,
launching them at an enemy integrated air defense system. there are early warning radars, and taking them down. >> so you would use microwave energy to damage the radars as opposed to a harmful anti- radiation missile that does a strike. >> right. to knock them offline and degrade them and disrupt their operations and maybe even destroy them. so that is another application that could today fit on smaller air vehicles such as cruise missiles or unmanned air vehicles which are returnable. >> and one of the things that critics have said about directed energy weapons, particularly lasers is, look, they don't work very well in rain, they don't work very well through atmospheric distortion or through clouds. it doesn't matter how much power you put through it, there is a refraction problem where the energy beam evolves to a degree. you know more about the physics
than i do. what are the work-arounds to those sort of limitations because you still need to defend your ship or base in a driving rain storm. >> excellent question. the fact is the lasers in very bad weather, anyone who has ever had a flashlight and been in the fog has seen the effect of the fog on the flashlight. well laser is light and it has the same kind of effect. and that is why we need kinetic weapons. but the tofextend time on stati service vessel and reduce potentially requirements to buy these very expensive weapons which could have some significant affects on the defense budget. >> are we going to see in the last 30 or so seconds that we have, what are the real enabling things that we need to throw us into the next generation? >> well, i believe that nonlethal technology such as the active denial system which is ready today, as that can help protect our forces with perimeter defenses out to 7
to the decade long war in afghanistan and shape its post 2014 plans. despite the unpopularity of the afghanistan war, washington wants nato allies to keep as many troops as possible in the country through 2014 and beyond. but a new president in france is complicating that unity. francois hollandey campaigned against the war. having spent a decade fighting and dying in afghanistan, nato members have an obligation to ensure an orderly exit and craft long-term military and financial plans to help the country until it can stand on its own. sadly that won't be the case for many years. that's why president obama is right to commit america to supporting afghanistan with training and assistance for a decade beyond the scheduled end of combat operations there. failing to sustain engagement and aid to afghanistan only to see the country again evolve into chaos would make a decade of sacrifice a tragic waste. i'm vago muradian and you can watch this online at defense news.com or e-mail me. i'